Europe’s Hidden Gem – Croatia’s Beaches30 August, 2012
Looking for a holiday with beautiful coasts, amazing inland landscapes and all the hustle and bustle of a modern city? Then Croatia is the island for you. Over recent years the amount of tourism may have increased, but you won’t find over-crowded beaches or Anglicised pubs and clubs on the islands. Croatia has resisted the need to alter its strong cultural identity for the influx of foreign nationals, keeping and maintaining a healthy mix of the old and new.
Everyone refers to Croatia holidays as the ideal getaway, and there are plenty of undiscovered gems to be found. The coastline, which measures 2,000km, boasts a host of beaches to lounge on as well as over 1,000 islands to explore. You could spend a week island hopping and only catch a glimmer of all this eye-catching area has to offer, especially as only 50 are occupied. The range of landscape mirrors the inland, with sandy plots leading through to areas covered in dense woodland.
For those seeking beach holidays, the choices on the mainland are almost as varied as on the islands. Dubrovnik, for example, has been described by Lord Byron as ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’. A short visit to this walled harbour town makes you see why, with as many sights to see within the town as outside. With breathtaking architecture in the monasteries and churches and superb local cuisine, Dubrovnik is the perfect locale for those wanting to unwind and absorb some of the history of Croatia.
Travelling inland provides the kind of pursuits both extreme sports enthusiasts and more relaxed visitors could hope for. For the former, mountain biking, parachuting, paragliding and plenty more can be found, providing the adrenaline junkie with plenty of beautiful landscape to hurtle past at breakneck speeds. Hiking is also on offer, putting both the coastal and rural paths to good use. Those wanting a slower-paced getaway should tour the vineyards of Istria. This peninsula sits in the Adriatic just across the water from Italy, and hosts some of the best kept secrets of the world of wine. There are culinary delights abound as well, from the more Slavic-influenced meals of the inland to the distinctly more Roman dishes on the coast. Each region is distinctive, and as a result deserves both extensive exploration and a healthy appetite.
The Croatian capital, Zagreb, hosts both the historical and modern aspects of the country in spectacular fashion, with Lake Jarun often proving a hub for both. During the day a relaxing dip can be taken on the beach-lined lake under the sun, and when the sun goes down the bars and clubs spill out for parties to continue long into the night. Within Zagreb itself there are plenty of galleries, museums and theatres to explore, as well as a host of cultured restaurants and bars. There’s even a restaurant owned by former Croatian AC Milan footballer Zvonimir Boban to visit, aptly named Boban.
For anyone wanting a holiday with plenty of variety, local culture and exploration, look no further than Croatia, Europe’s breathtaking land of variety.